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Thread: 2012 Honda Civic Si vs MazdaSpeed3 Track Test (Video)

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    Default 2012 Honda Civic Si vs MazdaSpeed3 Track Test (Video)



    Can Honda reclaim the crown as king of the front-wheel drive sport compact segment?

    Unlike the Honda Civic Si’s dominance of the sport compact scene during the ‘80s and ‘90s, these days the more powerful and aggressively styled MazdaSpeed3 rules the front-drive roost (and the VW Golf GTI isn’t far behind). But with the introduction of the all-new 2012 Civic Si, Honda has a golden opportunity to strike back and reclaim the title as king of the FWD pocket rockets. To find out if Soichiro Honda would be grinning from ear to ear or frowning in disapproval, we brought the 9th generation Civic Si and the MazdaSpeed3 to Toronto Motorsports Park for a knockdown, drag ‘em out, head-to-head shootout where the only things that matter are acceleration, braking, and grip.

    THE COMBATANTS

    With a whopping $5 between the two on price (our Civic Si coupe came equipped with the optional Navigation package and thus lists at $23,705 versus the Mazdaspeed3 at $23,700), your credit limit isn’t going to be the deciding factor here. Where these two front-drive performance cars differ the most is under the hood – the MazdaSpeed3 uses a 2.3-liter direct injection turbocharged engine to produce 263-hp at 5500 rpm and a stump-pulling 280 lb-ft at 3000 rpm, while the Civic Si generates 201-hp at 7000 rpm and 170 lb-ft at 4300 rpm thanks to its naturally aspirated 2.4-liter engine.

    Although it may seem like Honda brought a knife to a gunfight given the horsepower and torque gap between it and the Mazda, in a world controlled by the laws of physics mass is also an important variable. With the Civic tipping the scales at a relatively svelte 2,877 lbs and the surprisingly hefty MS3 weighing in at 3,272 lbs, the playing field should be at least somewhat leveled, especially when you consider that weight not only affects acceleration but also braking and handling.

    In terms of slowing all that mass down, getting it around corners, and putting power to the ground, there’s less to differentiate these two machines. Both use 6-speed manual transmissions, gear-type limited slip differentials, and MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension layouts. Both also come equipped with upgraded braking systems and the usual stability and traction control systems (which we turned off during track testing since these always result in slower and less consistent lap times in dry conditions).

    FIRST IMPRESSIONS

    You only get one chance to make a first impression, and as I launch the new Civic Si coupe down the 1,500-ft long front straightaway at Toronto Motorsports Park, the extra torque of the 2.4-liter engine is immediately apparent, as is the 7,200-rpm fuel cutoff. An Si-badged Civic that doesn’t rev to 8000-rpm and scream like a banshee while doing it? Hmm. This will take some getting used to.

    After a 4-3 downshift and a brief but determined stamp on the brake pedal, I pitch the car into the long right-hand Turn 1 at close to 90 mph. The Si’s initial response is a startling amount of body roll followed by a healthy dose of understeer. But hey, just about every production vehicle has some turn-in understeer designed into it as a safety precaution, and once the Si’s stiff chassis takes a set the front tires begin to find some grip. I’m back to full throttle as the inside tire clips the red-and-white curbing and that’s when the superb helical limited slip differential helps pull the Si out of what initially felt like a failed experiment in weight transfer and suspension tuning.

    The MazdaSpeed3, by contrast, feels far more eager to turn into a corner and carve a parabolic arc that simultaneous induces a grin and preserves momentum. Body roll feels absent compared to the Honda, and the MS3 even exhibits a willingness to forego understeer in favor of a touch of trail braking-induced oversteer, especially through the tight and twisty esses of Turns 4 and 5.

    And the power, oh the glorious turbocharged power! Although it runs out of steam rather suddenly around 6000 rpm, the 3000 rpm leading up to it deliver an “in your face, VTEC!” kick in the pants. The Torsen limited slip differential does a surprisingly good job of directing the gobs of torque to the wheel with the best chance of not converting all that energy into tire smoke, and although torque steer is an annoyance when punching the gas at cruising speeds, out on the racetrack it’s virtually undetectable.
    See the full review and watch the VIDEO at AutoGuide.com

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    Comparing a 2 door coupe to a 5 door wagon?

    Hmmmmm

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    They should of probably compared the MS3 to the 4 door civic SI. However, i wonder how much the variance price would be? Probably more then 5$....

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    The cars are Ontario plated, but those MSRP's don't add up. The M3S starts at $29,695. American website/prices?


    Quote Originally Posted by 97Dc4 View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital View Post
    The cars are Ontario plated, but those MSRP's don't add up. The M3S starts at $29,695. American website/prices?
    Definatly USA prices. The new civic Si starts at around 25k... and the MS3 starts at around 29k

    MS3 for me all day long.
    ------------ 2010 Black Mica Mazdaspeed 3 ------------
    14.8 @ 95.4MPH at Shitville dragway


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    Just reflash the MS3 to uncork it's power. That powerplant is cut off at the knees from the factory tuning. Hell it won't make full boost in 1st or 2nd gear. It won't even open the throttle all the way. Just by removing the torque limiters you can make another 20whp.



    -Michael
    Contact hackish@gmail.com. 819-778-7047 but email is far more reliable as I may or may not be in the city, province or even country. Tuning Honda, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Lotus, Mini, VW/Audi, Ford, Dodge and GM. Hyundai coming soon!

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    Legacy Member xenon's Avatar
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    Nice to see a car just like mine on the track like that.

    DO NOT mod this car until you replace the fuel pump. That is the known fact about the new MS3's, weak FP.
    2007 Mini Cooper S
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    Quote Originally Posted by xenon View Post
    Nice to see a car just like mine on the track like that.

    DO NOT mod this car until you replace the fuel pump. That is the known fact about the new MS3's, weak FP.
    Agreed. Someone told me that Cobb finally figured out how to change the rail pressure and made that available to their users so a few people bumped the max rail pressure and their fuel pumps exploded. By taking the torque limiters off the boost comes on a _LOT_ sooner so I've always bumped the rail pressure up to the factory peak earlier in the RPM and it works just fine without stressing the fuel pump. Really it comes down to the skills of the tuner knowing what they're doing.

    -Michael
    Contact hackish@gmail.com. 819-778-7047 but email is far more reliable as I may or may not be in the city, province or even country. Tuning Honda, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Lotus, Mini, VW/Audi, Ford, Dodge and GM. Hyundai coming soon!

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    ^You're right, Cobb knows shit all about tuning

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    It's not a fuel pressure issue. It's a fuel pump flow issue.
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    the real problem with picking the mazdaspeed is that it's a mazda.

    "I can't make you look stupid any more than Betty Crocker can bake a cake out of fuckin' thin air. It's not that I want to be an asshole, it's just that it comes so easily and I lack either the restraint or good will to say nothing at all."

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    Quote Originally Posted by G-PWR View Post
    the real problem with picking the mazdaspeed is that it's a mazda.
    Sounds like what people said about Hyundai... look at them now.

    Love the Speed3! Honda... make the Si fun again for frig's sake!
    ------------ 2010 Black Mica Mazdaspeed 3 ------------
    14.8 @ 95.4MPH at Shitville dragway


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    Quote Originally Posted by captobvious75 View Post
    Sounds like what people said about Hyundai... look at them now.

    Love the Speed3! Honda... make the Si fun again for frig's sake!
    I owned 2 mazdas; they're great until they're not and then the service is absolutely nowhere to be found.

    My mazdaspeed protege was the worst for dealer issues; they didn't care to help me in any way. No I'll never own another Mazda anything... Honda on the other hand has been nothing but awesome in the customer service dept... not that I've had any issues at all in the last 135000 kms

    "I can't make you look stupid any more than Betty Crocker can bake a cake out of fuckin' thin air. It's not that I want to be an asshole, it's just that it comes so easily and I lack either the restraint or good will to say nothing at all."

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    Quote Originally Posted by G-PWR View Post
    I owned 2 mazdas; they're great until they're not and then the service is absolutely nowhere to be found.

    My mazdaspeed protege was the worst for dealer issues; they didn't care to help me in any way. No I'll never own another Mazda anything... Honda on the other hand has been nothing but awesome in the customer service dept... not that I've had any issues at all in the last 135000 kms
    One of the main reasons why I got another Mazda was because of the dealer support. Elite Mazda is not like any other dealership, that's for sure. They actually care about their customers and bend over backwards to accommodate them.
    2007 Mini Cooper S
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    Legacy Member G-PWR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xenon View Post
    One of the main reasons why I got another Mazda was because of the dealer support. Elite Mazda is not like any other dealership, that's for sure. They actually care about their customers and bend over backwards to accommodate them.
    it was Bank Street and Carling Mazda that sealed their fate with me. Where's Elite Mazda? Gatineau? I can't be driving there for service.

    "I can't make you look stupid any more than Betty Crocker can bake a cake out of fuckin' thin air. It's not that I want to be an asshole, it's just that it comes so easily and I lack either the restraint or good will to say nothing at all."

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    Quote Originally Posted by G-PWR View Post
    it was Bank Street and Carling Mazda that sealed their fate with me. Where's Elite Mazda? Gatineau? I can't be driving there for service.
    I have experience with both Bank and Carling Mazda and OMG they are BAD!

    Yes, Elite Mazda is in Gatineau but well worth the effort. You can have your hair cut for free, they have a bar with soft drinks, juice, snacks all free. They have like 10 computers with internet, PS3, plasma tv's, etc.. They also have a gym so you can work-out while you wait for your car. Its a nice place too. There are real pom trees and indoor pond with live fish.
    2007 Mini Cooper S
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    Legacy Member G-PWR's Avatar
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    wow sounds amazing - but on the 5th EGR valve replacement, I'd be bored of it all

    "I can't make you look stupid any more than Betty Crocker can bake a cake out of fuckin' thin air. It's not that I want to be an asshole, it's just that it comes so easily and I lack either the restraint or good will to say nothing at all."

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    Quote Originally Posted by xenon View Post
    I have experience with both Bank and Carling Mazda and OMG they are BAD!

    Yes, Elite Mazda is in Gatineau but well worth the effort. You can have your hair cut for free, they have a bar with soft drinks, juice, snacks all free. They have like 10 computers with internet, PS3, plasma tv's, etc.. They also have a gym so you can work-out while you wait for your car. Its a nice place too. There are real pom trees and indoor pond with live fish.
    wow.. lol I might buy a Mazda just to live the life.
    == 300zx ==

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    Quote Originally Posted by becks View Post
    ^You're right, Cobb knows shit all about tuning
    There is nothing wrong with Cobb's tuning. It just took them years to figure out how to adjust the rail pressure and to this day they still don't understand how some of the most basic settings in the ECU work. The lack of any alternative made all the mazda community believe they were gods.

    -Michael
    Contact hackish@gmail.com. 819-778-7047 but email is far more reliable as I may or may not be in the city, province or even country. Tuning Honda, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Lotus, Mini, VW/Audi, Ford, Dodge and GM. Hyundai coming soon!

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    Quote Originally Posted by xenon View Post
    It's not a fuel pressure issue. It's a fuel pump flow issue.
    You're sorta right but the two run hand in hand. If you pump the rail pressure too high at higher RPMs it will destroy the pump. If you just adjust the rail pressure at the lower RPMs where the removed torque limiters now allow 1000rpm of sooner spoolup you'll be just fine.

    -Michael
    Contact hackish@gmail.com. 819-778-7047 but email is far more reliable as I may or may not be in the city, province or even country. Tuning Honda, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Lotus, Mini, VW/Audi, Ford, Dodge and GM. Hyundai coming soon!

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